DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter! I'm not J.K. Rowling. This is non-profit!
*Chapter Warning: Not proof-read! SHORT!Hermione and Ron are here now. It's been a while. Lol. AND Narcissa makes her next move...
"Harry, where did you say you got this ring?" Hermione asked for the millionth time since the evening's feast had started. She had hardly allowed Harry to have his hand back to eat. She was constantly tugging and twisting the band around his finger. He felt the tic in his jaw as he fought the urge to slap her hand away from him.
"Hermione, I've told you several times that I got it in my mother's vault with Snuffles." He actually did swipe her hand away when she again tried to pull the ring off. "Quit that."
What is Granger doing? Make her stop. Draco said mentally. Harry smiled while Hermione pulled her hand away.
"Why won't it come off?" she asked inquisitively. Again.
"He's already told us, 'Mione," Ron said with an annoyed huff. He reached around Hermione to grab the pitcher of pumpkin juice. "Snuffles helped him charm it so that it would never fall off and he can never lose it."
"Thanks, Ron," Harry chuckled.
"No problem, mate," Ron smiled around a mouth full of bread.
"Ronald, don't talk with your mouth full," Hermione chided as her hands reached for Harry's ring again. He pulled his hand back again. "Sorry!" she said pulling her hands back in apology. "It's just, I've never seen anything like it before."
"It was made special," Harry said with warm smile as he looked briefly across the hall and at the Slytherin table. "There's only one like it." And he wasn't sure if he was only talking about the ring. A pair of silver eyes met his and he completely missed what Hermione said in response. "I'm sorry, what?"
"I said," Hermione started as she looked over at the Slytherin table to see who Harry may have been staring at. (It could have been Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, or at a long-shot Pansy Parkinson.) "Then why does Malfoy have one?"
Harry was proud that he didn't give away his surprise at the sudden question. Without faltering he asked, "Have one what? What does Malfoy have?"
"He's got a ring like yours," Hermione said matter-of-factly. "I saw it this morning in potions. It's exactly like yours."
Harry looked down at his ring. "That's peculiar," he finally said with a shrug of his shoulders. Hermione keeps bothering me about our rings. Aloud he said, "I don't know what to tell you, Hermione. Maybe they were made by the same person and are just strikingly similar. The Malfoy's and Potter's both go way back in the Ministry's registry."
Our rings? Draco asked as he eyed the brunette from across the hall. Her hair was pulled into its usual low ponytail and when he saw her look over at their table, he pretended to laugh at something Greg had just said.
She said she saw yours in Potions earlier.
Draco thought for a minute. That must have been when I turned around to glare you. I figured there must have been a reason for Sev to come out of no where. She was probably trying to get a good look at it while I was stirring. He internally scoffed at his husband. Just like a Gryffindor to nose about in business that isn't theirs.
Well, you, my love, are married to a Gryffindor, Harry said back as he turned his verbal conversation to the upcoming Transfiguration quiz. That effectively got Hermione off the topic of Harry's ring- well, for the time being.
Yes, and I ask myself why every day, Draco teased. He could feel Harry's eyes on him from across the hall and purposefully avoided raising his own. He simply smirked and gently twirled his ring around his finger.
That hurt, Draco. That really hurt, Harry said back, but his tone was teasing. He knew that Draco was just teasing him, and besides, in about thirty more minutes he could remind his husband of exactly why he had married the Gryffindor.
As Draco started to laugh at his husband's response, he caught the very end of what Greg and Vince were talking about. "Say that again," he said turning all of his attention to them.
"Your father flooed my father earlier today," Vince said in a low whisper. It was best to keep elven matters amongst those in the know. (And believe it or not, a good majority of Slytherin house was in the know- but better safe than sorry.)
"Father never mentioned anything to me," Draco said back. "I knew he had intended to find someone from Pardus, but I assumed he would have told me once he had."
"I only found out myself a few hours ago," Vince replied with shrug. "My father came by the school to bring me enough galleons and such for the rest of the term- said he was going away for a while." And the trio knew what Vince had meant by that. Traveling to the elven realms required a strong dose of magic, there was little tolerance for outside effects, and several different customs that varied between realms. Mr. Crabbe would be gone for a while.
Greg spoke up next. "Vince said he also mentioned something about helping your father locate a healer." His voice had almost been too soft for Draco to hear. He leaned a little closer. "When were you planning to tell us?"
For a moment, Draco worried that his friends would be disappointed or angry at him. They had, after all, been assigned by his father to keep him and Harry on the right track. "I'm sorry," he whispered back just as softly. He was nearly crushed when the two much taller males wrapped an arm around his shoulders. They each had ridiculous smiles on their faces.
"Sorry for what?" Greg asked with a laugh. A few heads in the Great Hall turned to look at the odd sound coming from the Slytherin table. None of the other students had ever heard the tall, sturdy, and usually-stoic Slytherin convey happiness. And then, even more heads turned when Vince joined in the merriment. Had his laugh always been so musical? Had they ever heard him laugh in the first place?
What's going on over there? Harry asked with a mental laugh as he watched people who were gazing at the Slytherins as if they were new beings entirely.
Greg and Vince found out about the baby, Draco said with a huge amount of glee in his voice; it was also mixed in with a bit of relief. He realized, however, that his worries were just silly. Greg and Vince were his best mates, so of course they would be happy. Mr. Crabbe came by to bring Vince a few things because he's heading to the realm for Father. He told Vince that Father had also asked for him to look around for a healer.
Well, isn't that exciting, Harry chuckled. He went back to eating a piece of cake as the excitement from the two Slytherins calmed down. They moved their arms from Draco's shoulders and fell back in to their usual subdued demeanors.
Harry, who was relieved that Draco's best friends were as excited about the baby as their fathers, looked at his two friends. Ron was working on his third piece of pumpkin pie and Hermione was carrying on about their Herbology essays with Neville. Draco, do you think it would be a good idea to let Hermione and Ron in?
In what? Draco asked in confusion.
Us, was Harry's simple enough answer. The couple's eyes met from their respective seats.
Draco's silver eyes went from curious to compassionate in the short amount of time it took Harry to finish voicing his response. You want to tell your friends about the baby.
I want to tell the world about the baby, Draco, Harry smiled. But before that, I want to tell everyone we're closest to- which includes Mr. Weasley, the twins, Remus...
Granger and Weasle, Draco added as Harry trailed off. Harry, I know that you've been friends with them since first year, but I also know that there's a reason that Fred and George were at the wedding while they were not. Harry broke eye contact with his husband to look at Hermione and Ron again. Draco was right. And if the two of them can earn the trust you had once given them back one-hundred percent, then I will gladly tell them about us myself. But as it stands now, they've got a lot more to prove before I allow you to give them anything else.
Harry looked back at his husband with a smile. I love you.
Draco smiled, I love yo-
His sentence died off before he could finish it when a wave of extraordinary heat suddenly settled on him. It radiated from his lower abdomen and continued to spread throughout his entire being, causing his body to feel heavy, his vision to blur slightly as his eyelids fluttered, and his heart began beating faster.
Draco? Draco! Harry mentally called in concern. He could probably see it when Draco gripped the edge of the table in a tight grip to avoid falling back onto the floor. Draco! He jumped up from his seat before he could stop himself and ignored the confused looks from the other Gryffindors and other students who noticed. Draco! And he wasn't sure if that was mental or out loud, but he did not care. Draco needed him.
And just as suddenly as the disorientation had come on, it was gone. Draco, however, was now unbelievably hot and his whole body was tingling. When Greg reached over to lightly grab his shoulder, he flinched away from it and moaned slightly as if the concerned action had caused burned him. And technically, the touch had burned. Draco knew that the only who could make that burn go away was Harry, who was already making his way around the Gryffindor table. Oh, Draco thought as realization dawned on him- along with the desire to purr in excitement at the sight Harry made stalking across the hall.
Harry, I'm fine. His grey eyes sparkled with a laugh as Harry's steps faltered. Go ahead and leave the hall since you're already up.
What's happened? Harry asked as he went on pass the end of the Gryffindor table instead of rounding it to get to Slytherin's. The students who had been watching him in confusion continued to stare, the number of onlookers finally dwindling as he reached the door. They figured he must have forgotten something urgent. Dinner was just about over anyway.
My first craving, Draco purred mentally. Harry, I'm really hot.
Harry could practically feel his mate's tongue caress his ear in emphasis on the word 'hot.' Well, then, this is exciting, Harry smiled. Let's move your detention to my Head Boy dorm.
I'll be there in five, Draco said. I'll leave when a few others follow your hasty example.
Harry laughed as he headed towards the stair cases. I must have looked the real idiot.
I thought it was incredibly arousing. Draco laughed internally, But I do suppose that the others who watched you leave will be talking about it for a while yet.
Hermione will pester me about it until I give her an answer she'll believe.
Harry, we're about to experience our first craving- during which, I might add, you'll need to shag my brains out til morning- and you're thinking of Granger? He quickly whispered an explanation to Greg and Vince before excusing himself from the table as random groups of students began to file out as well. The two Slytherins watched him leave before they couldn't help it anymore and started laughing.
Til morning? Harry asked with a chuckle. He recalled from his elf studies- well, from the brief studying he'd done about elf pregnancy after they found out about the baby- that the first craving was always really strong.
Yes, if I let you touch me when I get there, Draco said with a slight pout. Don't you care that you're thinking of someone else?
I'm only thinking about you, darling, and of all the delicious things I'm going to do to you, Harry said huskily as he finally reached the entrance to his Head Boy suite. He whispered the password, untying his tie as he stepped inside. He also remembered from his studies that Ainnir elves would become much more possessive and even more jealous as a pregnancy progressed. And if the very beginning of Draco's pregnancy told Harry anything, it would be that the last couple weeks of the pregnancy would definitely be taking a toll on him. Draco was already slightly possessive and could be seriously jealous when he wanted to be, but how much worse would it be after months of pregnancy? Harry shuddered at the prospect. It was going to be a good next few months.
Nice save, mate, Draco voiced as he made sure to make 'mate' sound as needy and provocative as possible. The tingling of his skin seemed to grow even stronger as he strode closer and closer to Harry and his room, the fire in his veins was steadily getting hotter. He loosened his tie and quickened his pace, refusing to give in to temptation and start running. Malfoys don't run, he thought in his father's usual tone...
But then he broke out into a huge grin- glad that he'd long since separated himself from the crowds leaving the Great Hall- and shoved his tie into his trouser pocket. But Potters do.
"Ron!" Hermione whispered urgently as she tried to get the red-head's attention. "Ron!" She lightly punched his arm.
"What is it?" Ron asked as he swallowed his last bite of pie.
"We have got to find out what's going on with Harry," Hermione replied with a pout. "First, he comes back from summer holidays and looks completely different. Then!" she exclaimed with a point of her finger. (Ron jumped back to avoid the slender digit's contact with his fragile nose.) "He's got that ring. Malfoy's got that ring!- And don't tell me you believed him when he said they're different!" And Ron quickly closed his mouth because he had been about to do just that. "I know what I saw in Potions today," Hermione said with a nod. "They've got the same ring, indentical in every way..." She looked down at the table and tapped her chin impatiently. "But what does it mean?"
"Hermione," Ron started as he started to stand up, "if those rings had any real meaning to Harry, he would let us know." Hermione jumped up and made to argue before Ron placed a long finger over his lips. "Shh, no arguing. If anything new happened over the summer and Harry hasn't mentioned it to us, then I'm going to trust my instincts and believe that it was for the better, and not the worse." He dropped his finger and slung his arm over Hermione's shoulder. "And so should you." He led her from the Hall.
But Hermione was far from just accepting that Harry knew what was best for himself. She had to know what was actually going on.
Both seventh-years failed to notice Ginny as she glared down at the table just a few feet from where they'd been sitting. Was something going on with her Harry? Well, she would do everything in her power to fix things...
Narcissa stood in the shadows of the corridor, watching calmy as her only child ran towards her hiding place. She closed her eyes and gently inhaled, opening her eyes as she exhaled. Draco's magics were low, his body calling for his mate to help replenish them. She continued to watch as Draco whispered something to the portrait blocking the room and the ran inside before the portrait had swung all the way open.
Once the portrait had swung closed all the way, Narcissa looked down the corridor to insure that she was still alone before stepping out of her hiding place. She reached into one of the many pockets of her traditional robes, pulling out a single stone. The cold piece of earth was a deep crimson and had small flecks of onyx scattered around the entire smooth surface. She carefully raised the stone to her lips and breathed warm air over it. The speckled crimson surface of the stone began to rapidly heat up in her pale hands as the tiny black dots began to shift, as if the solid stone were composed of slowly flowing lava. She walked over to the portrait guarding the Head Boy room, making sure to reach the portrait before it noticed her. Just as the guardian tried to ask her for the password, she blew over his face, the same way she'd done for the stone. The guard fell into immediate slumber.
Narcissa crouched before the portrait and held the heated stone out to the bottom right corner. "Nish rah liu pe neh," she muttered before slowly pressing the stone against the portrait. It began to melt into the magicked paint as if burning through the canvas. Within seconds, the stone was completely hidden in portrait, and she would be the only one with the knowledge that it was there in the first place. She slowly stood, hearing the distant sounds of approaching footsteps.
She disappeared back into the shadows. She had one more stop to make before her work was done.